Editor’s note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault and is seeking help, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org.
During a pre-trial deposition last week, Deshaun Watson admitted that one massage therapist did cry after their session, but he said he did not know why, according to USA Today.
He left and later sent her an apology text after the session, which read, “Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable. Never were the intentions. Lmk if you want to work in the future. My apologies. ”
The Browns quarterback is facing 22 civil lawsuits filed by massage therapists, each detailing graphic accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during massage therapy sessions. The accounts range from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to the quarterback “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him. ”
Per a partial transcript obtained by USA Today, the woman’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, asked Watson, “But you know why you sent that text apology afterwards?”
“Yes, because she was teary-eyed,” the quarterback replied. “And I was trying to figure out what was going on. So, I assumed that she was uncomfortable in whatever reason. And we talked about working in the future. And so, I said, ‘We can work in the future. Just let me know. ‘ And then I sent my apologies as whatever reason she was teary-eyed for. ”
According to USA Today, last week’s deposition was concerning Ashley Solis’s case, who was the first woman to file a lawsuit against Watson last year. She did not reply to Watson’s message, per her filing.
A trial reportedly will not occur until after February, but the quarterback does have other pretrial depositions scheduled for next month, per USA Today.
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Although the civil lawsuits are still ongoing, Cleveland traded for Watson in March and signed him to a five-year contract worth a guaranteed $ 230 million. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center saw more than 2,300 donations come in wake of his signing, totaling more than $ 125,000. They received more than 1,000 donations within the first 24 hours of the trade.
The quarterback previously faced multiple criminal complaints; however, he is not facing charges following two separate grand jury hearings.
On March 11, the Harris County Grand Jury returned nine “no” bills on nine criminal complaints against Watson. A Harris County prosecutor said that the decision concluded criminal proceedings against him in that county, and Watson was traded shortly afterward. A grand jury in Brazoria County declined to charge Watson on a 10th count on March 24.
Watson denied assaulting, harassing or disrespecting any woman during his introductory press conference with the Browns.
He could still face discipline for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. According to multiple reports, league officials will meet with the quarterback this week.
As the civil deposition proceedings continue, here’s a recap of what has happened on and off the field since Watson’s last snap.
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